4 Allege Abuse by Salem Priest
A Fifth Also Will File Suit Today against Michael Sprauer

By Alan Gustafson
Statesman Journal [Oregon]
October 6, 2004

In a new round of sexual-abuse complaints against a well-known Salem priest, four men claim they were molested at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in the 1970s.

Together, the four suits seek $7 million in damages.

Named as defendant is the Rev. Michael Sprauer of Salem.

Since mid-2003, a total of 15 men have filed suit against Sprauer, alleging that he molested them three decades ago at the state-run juvenile facility in Woodburn.

All of the plaintiffs are represented by Salem lawyer Daniel Gatti.

The latest suits were filed by two men identified in court papers as Douglas A. Moore and Ricky Blaze DuHaime and two men using the initials R.D.W. and R.B.

The plaintiffs allege that Sprauer used his authority as prison chaplain to groom the young inmates to engage in sex, resulting in long-term physical and emotional suffering.

Thomas Cooney Sr., a Portland lawyer representing Sprauer, said Tuesday that he had not seen the latest suits, filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

"I can tell you this," Cooney said, "Father Sprauer adamantly denies that he has ever molested anybody."

Sprauer was chaplain at the juvenile corrections facility from 1972-75. He later served as the director of religious services in Oregonís adult prison system, retiring from there in 1999.

Sprauer was serving at St. Joseph Parish in Salem and St. Edward Parish in Keizer when the first suit was filed against him in June 2003. At that time, he was placed on administrative leave.

Named as co-defendants are the Archdiocese of Portland and the archbishop; the state Department of Human Resources, the Oregon Youth Authority and MacLaren.

Compensatory damages sought by the 15 plaintiffs suing Sprauer total $43 million.

Their lawsuits are among dozens stuck in legal limbo because of bankruptcy proceedings involving the Portland Archdiocese. In July, the archdiocese became the first to seek bankruptcy protection, suspending sex-abuse litigation.

Gatti said another former MacLaren inmate would also file suit today against Sprauer.


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